Mary Lattimore on Exploring Harp, Writing Instrumentals with Emotion and Life in L.A.

Mary Lattimore on Exploring Harp, Writing Instrumentals with Emotion and Life in L.A.

Mary Lattimore on Exploring Harp, Writing Instrumentals with Emotion and Life in L.A.

It’s safe to say that Hundreds Days is a departure for Mary Lattimore, both figuratively and literally. This third LP finds the classically trained harpist expanding her craft — incorporating hazy layers guitar, synth and wordless vocals into her brand serene harp plucking. Yet Hundreds Days was also heavily influenced by Lattimore’s departure from her longtime home Philadelphia.
 
After being awarded a summer residency at the Headlands Centre for the Arts in San Franciso, Lattimore moved into a community old military buildings with 14 other artists, giving her an opportunity to concurrently process feelings around her recent move to Los Angeles, as well as to move forward with the recording her next album.
 
“They gave us a place to live in this beautiful dramatic setting,” she tells Exclaim! “It’s a very isolated place, so I got to really hunker down and work on some new songs. I brought all the instruments I had — a lot them I really didn’t know how to play — so that was kind an opportunity to mess around with things like the Theremin and some synths and guitar. I got to experiment with these new elements, to see how they went together with the harp. This album] is kind a souvenir that residency.”
 
Although Lattimore was surrounded by other artists, she spent a large portion her sojourn alone, giving her ample time to reflect on her recent life changes. “It was all part my learning to love California and trying to move past my life in Philadelphia.”
 
Over seven tracks and 60 minutes, Lattimore allows layers instrumentation to ebb and flow beneath her meditative harp playing, providing the listener with a mood-infused collection dreamy instrumentals that happen to be based upon real life events and feelings.
 
“I always have an idea in my head that’s not musical,” explains Lattimore. “It’s always more than just wanting to play the note; it’s like trying to paint a picture, but like a diary.”
 
Although Lattimore constructed Hundreds Days through very specific emotional and tactile circumstances, she wants the listener to interpret these songs through their own personal lens. “Somebody can listen to it and take that to any place if they want. It could be about love to me, but for someone else, it could be about landscapes or meditating or something like that.”
 
Hundreds Days is out now on Ghostly International.